learning to live a happy, healthy life

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Friday, 29 April 2016

Frozen Fruit & Vegetables As Good As Fresh?


Buying frozen fruit & vegetables is a great way to save money and to avoid waste, but have you ever wondered whether they're as nutritional as fresh? Many people avoid buying fresh produce as they're worried that it's lacking in those amazing vitamins & minerals we all want. There's no question that fresh produce is great, especially the organic kind, but that doesn't mean you should completely avoid frozen.


Frozen fruit & vegetables are actually harvested at their prime then frozen shortly afterwards meaning they're at their nutritional peak and aren't going to spoil or lose valuable vitamins & minerals. You do however have to be careful in the way you cook frozen produce as boiling them can diminish nutrients and kill the goodness your body needs, it's best to stick to gently steaming to make sure the yummy vitamins remain locked in!
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Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Sweet Potato & Broccoli Masala Curry


Curry is without a doubt one of my favourite meals. I honestly don't think there's anything quite like a delicious homemade curry with fresh ingredients, amazing spices and yummy brown rice.
I love how many different flavour combinations you can create when it comes to curry but this recipe I'm sharing with you today is my go-to at the moment, it's sweet potato & broccoli masala curry made with coconut milk and amazing spices so every mouthful is an explosion of flavour & goodness.


I made this masala curry for my family and they completely devoured it, said how much they loved it and it's been requested again numerous times since. This curry is such a crowd pleaser as it's got the perfect mixture between a nice spice whilst not being overpowering due to the delicious coconut milk. You can spice it up more by adding more cayenne pepper or completely leave it out if you're not a fan of spicy food at all! The sweet potato, broccoli and spinach add so much colour, taste, texture and goodness to this meal that every bite is like a little bit of heaven....plus, due to all the veggie goodness and heartiness of the potato even the biggest meat eaters won't miss the lack of meat in this dish.
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Monday, 25 April 2016

Vitamin B12 - Why It's Important & Where To Give It On A Plant Based Diet


Vitamin B12 deficiency is one of the main concerns I know people have when transitioning to a plant-based diet. Vitamin B12 is a vitamin that is found in a wide variety of animal products but isn't present in plant-based foods unless they've been fortified. But why is vitamin B12 so important? Is it possible to get enough on a plant-based diet?


What Does Vitamin B12 Do?
B12 is an essential nutrient for a healthy, happy body. It helps keep your body's nervous system functioning and all your important cells healthy, without it you become very weak and unwell. If your body lacks B12 you're at risk of developing anaemia, nervous system damage and pregnancy complications if you're expecting.
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Friday, 22 April 2016

Chewy Banoffee Cookies


This Banoffee Cookie recipe is one I'm so so so excited to share with you! I love the banoffee flavour so taking it from a traditional banoffee pie and putting it into a chewy cookie seemed like a good idea and I was right.....these cookies are a dream! (Plus, they're made of only natural ingredients so can be enjoyed guilt free....winner!)


I purposefully made these cookies with only easy to find, normal, inexpensive ingredients so anyone can make them! No superfoods here! They consist of oat, oat flour (you can make your own by whizzing up oats in a food processor and sieving it), bananas (of course), pecans, almond butter and date nectar (I used Beloved Dates which can be found in Sainsbury's, Asda & Waitrose). While I'm normally fine with substituting one natural sweetener for another I wouldn't recommend it in this recipe as the date nectar really creates that toffee taste!
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Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Easy Tomato & Basil Courgetti


This tomato & basil courgetti recipe is not only the most simple recipe ever but it's also incredibly flavoursome, delicious and nutritious! It makes the perfect lunch or light dinner and you could substitute the courgetti for brown rice spaghetti for a more hearty meal if you wanted to.  I'm obsessed with courgetti at the moment and this easy sauce goes perfectly with it.....you're going to love it!



This recipe may be simple but that doesn't make it any less scrumptious and satisfying. The mixture of cherry tomatoes and spinach is one I never could tire off and the combination of basil, lemon, chilli & oregano creates a mouth-wateringly fresh and tangy taste that is a real crowd pleaser.
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Monday, 18 April 2016

Is It Ok To Snack?


Snacking, it's something I think we all do and it's something a few people have asked me about recently. Is snacking good or bad? Will it prevent weight loss? Will it speed up your metabolism? Is it bad for digestion?

There's arguments to say snacking is a good thing, that it keeps our metabolism ticking over and stops us over eating at meal times but there's also arguments against snacking because it's harder on digestion and it can lead to our bodies expecting constant snacks. When I looked into these arguments more actually neither really matter; contrary to the nutrition-myth eating more frequently does not bump up your metabolism, yes it's true that if you go very long periods of time without eating your metabolism will slow down but this won't happen just between meals and while it's correct that if you constantly eat something every hour it's harder on digestion it shouldn't effect you if you're sensible and only eat when you feel hungry.


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Friday, 15 April 2016

Getting Rid Of The Scales


I always make a point of saying I'm about promoting health & wellness, not weight-loss or 'shredding'. Focusing on becoming healthy and happy is way more important, valuable and fulfilling than focusing on one specific goal weight that you want to get to. Putting all your energy into achieving a certain weight is setting yourself up for disappointment.



When I was about 18 I became pretty obsessed with trying to get to a certain weight - I'd weigh myself constantly, cut out certain foods because I thought they'd make me 'fat' and only wanted to do cardio exercise. I thought that if I didn't reach this weight I couldn't be happy, I wouldn't be beautiful and I'd be unhealthy but guess what? I became miserable (surprise surprise). I was so fixated on losing weight that I was actually neglecting what my body needed and I felt tired, I looked unhealthy and I was starting to lose my love for food. As soon as I stopped focusing on that insignificant number on the scale and started living a healthy, balanced lifestyle I became happier - I was enjoying my food again (so much so I started this blog!), I found a passion for exercise, I started realising my body needed rest days and I learnt to accept & respect the body I have. Oh, and I lost weight, I became my natural body weight....but that's just an added bonus.

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Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Spring Quinoa Lemon & Herb Salad


Spring is finally here! The weather is warming up slightly, the days are getting longer and the flowers are starting to bloom. I love everything about Spring/Summer, including the food of course! As soon as the weather starts to get nicer and the sun is making more of an appearance I start craving more fresh foods, delicious salads, lots of citrus flavours and fresh herbs. My current favourite salad is this scrumptious quinoa dish with pomegranate, rocket and lemon that's just perfect for Spring and will be divine when the weather gets even nicer to accompany BBQ dinners.


Quinoa makes an amazing base for this salad, the slight nuttiness and delicious texture goes so well with the other flavours in the salad and it's packed full of goodness too. Quinoa is my favourite grain (although technically a seed) and it's one of the only whole vegan sources of all nine amino acids, making it a complete protein! It's also bursting with heart-healthy fibre, lots of iron and it's super easy on digestion too. I've added parsley and mint to this dish which just go together like a dream and help to create those Spring food flavours I love so much - parsley is rich in anti-oxidants and has been shown to prevent cell damage, it's also an excellent source of vitamin C and folic acid and mint is also high in anti-oxidants and aids digestion as well as  being a natural breath-freshener.
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Monday, 11 April 2016

The Link Between Nature & Happiness


It took me a long time to understand what helped me when I feel depressed, sometimes nothing helps and I just have to wait for the darkness to pass but sometimes making myself do certain things really lifts my mood. One of those things is being outside, whether that's going for a walk with my dogs or sitting in the garden looking at the trees, flowers & wildlife it definitely reduces my feelings of anxiety and depression. I thought this could just be because I feel more able to breathe and less claustrophobic but actually there is some real science behind why nature makes you happy.


There's a beautiful link between the human body and the earth. Practises that are good for the earth are actually amazing for your body too - eating pesticide free food, buying organic produce, eating more greens than meat, wearing less makeup, walking instead of driving, drinking from a glass instead of a plastic bottle/cup, etc. Look after our planet and you look after your body also, talk about a double whammy!

The relationship between our mind and nature is just as strong. Nature is necessary to maintain our happiness levels and many studies show nature can lift your mood, decrease feelings of stress and increase feelings of joy. Rumination is the negative thought process in the brain, it's responsible for all this times you overthink a situation, when you can't see the positives, when you get stressed and it can contribute towards depression over time. Spending more time with nature reduces the effects of rumination and therefore makes you feel calmer, more positive and happier.
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Friday, 8 April 2016

The Perfect Banana Bread


This banana bread recipe is probably my favourite healthy sweet treat that I make and the recipe I'm most proud of. I've tried a few gluten free & vegan banana bread recipes before but they either end up being expensive to make or don't turn out the way I'd hoped, this cinnamon banana bread is a different story....the ingredients are inexpensive, it's easy to make and turns out perfectly every time.


The texture of the banana bread is spot on; it's perfectly moist yet nice and firm (so there's no falling apart when you cut it!), the balance between the sweetness of the banana and the spices of cinnamon & nutmeg is truly mouth-watering and the hint of vanilla brings the deliciousness level up even more. With every bite this banana bread gets tastier and tastier, the juicy sultanas and crunchy flaked almonds give the loaf great texture and it's even more heavenly topped with almond butter.
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Wednesday, 6 April 2016

What's Wrong With Peanuts?


I eat a lot of nuts - I use them in baking, I have them as a snack, I put them on my breakfast and I have a definite obsession with nut butter (namely almond and cashew butters) but I do tend to avoid peanuts. Peanut butter is probably the most popular nut butter and plenty of people reach for it as a healthy snack, but is it really as good for you as you think? Peanuts aren't actually all they're cracked up to be, they're okay in small doses but if you eat nuts as much as me it's perhaps safer to opt for other nuts. Let me explain why.


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Monday, 4 April 2016

Why I Don't Use A Microwave


There's been quite a few adjustments I've made throughout my journey to a healthy, happy lifestyle and one of those is I never use a microwave anymore. I rarely used it before in all honestly, but I did used to occasionally cook my porridge in it, cook vegetables or heat food whereas now I don't touch the thing. I thought I'd share why I've got rid of my microwave and hopefully encourage you to do the same.



When I eat my food I want it to be doing me good, I want all the goodness it can provide me with and I want my cells to soak up every nutrient possible but when you cook food in a microwave those amazing nutrients are destroyed. You could put a plate full of the most nutrient dense, wonderful food into the appliance and it'll come out striped of goodness! The microwave radiation changes the molecular structure in your food which diminishes it's precious nutrients, pretty scary and definitely not what you want if you're on a healthy, happy path. A 2003 study found that a broccoli prepared in the microwave lost 97% of it's valuable antioxidant content through the cooking process!
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Friday, 1 April 2016

Raw Lemon Cheesecake (Vegan)


Lemon cheesecake has been one of my favourite desserts for as long as I can remember; it was always my choice if it was on the menu at a restaurant and I'd be so thrilled if my mum bought it as a treat. I thought having a plant-based diet would mean I'd never be able to enjoy a delicious lemon cheesecake again, I mean how on earth do you make a cheesecake vegan? But I did some experimenting and I've come up with the most delicious recipe for lemon cheesecake that is not only vegan and gluten free but is refined sugar free and totally healthy too!




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